I’m not the worlds biggest vampire fan. I haven’t even seen Twilight: Eclipse so obviously I can’t really be into vampires. I don’t shop at Hot Topic either. In all seriousness, I just don’t find vampires that interesting and there haven’t really been any good vampire movies in the last two decades. That said, Daybreakers looked promising. It seemed stylish, had Sam Neill, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe in it. Definitely a few points in the plus column.
Daybreakers takes place in a world where humanity is on the verge of extinction and vampirism is the name of the game. These vampires live forever and the conscientious ones drink animal blood, though the vast majority prefer human blood farmed from people held in giant Matrix-like storage areas. There’s only one problem – when you’re feeding an undying population, you’re bound to run out of food sooner or later and in this case, it’s sooner. With a dwindling human population incapable of feeding the vampires much longer, those who go without blood rapidly deteriorate into semi-mindless, gigantic killer bats. One one side of the coin is the giant corporation, out to create a synthetic blood substitute, while on the other is hematologist Edward Dalton, who is looking to cure the vampire problem altogether.
There are around a dozen solid on screen definite kills and we see a lot of mayhem in the finale, which would probably bring the body count up to the mid-twenties in terms of humans and vampires. The giant killer bat people were counted separately and about sixteen of them are put down.
We get the now standard CGI melting in the sunlight and vampires exploding when pierced through the heart, which never makes sense. Thanks, Blade, for that bullshit. We see a decapitation and a body get ripped to pieces. There’s some impalements, an explosion, tons of blood, and lots of general mayhem at the end. It’s pretty bloody, which is a good thing.
There are some floppy human cattle titties we see two or three times which is pretty gross. They should have been harvesting strippers. Also, Transformers 2 hottie Isabel Lucas is in it. So that’s good.
Being a vampire makes it easy for emo kids to kill themselves – just find the sunlight.
What’s funny is early on there is a news tidbit that says a single bat started it all. That’s a bit silly of an idea that this was actually some sort of vampiric virus transmitted from bat to people, then from person to person, to the point that the vast majority of the Earth’s population are now vampires. That withstanding, I found the idea of Daybreakers much better than the actual movie.
This is the first time we’ve been given a way to explore a vampire civilization. Not just an underground culture of well dressed old men or punk-rock SoCal kids, but an honest to goodness world of vampires. Their coffee is served with blood, everyone is okay with harvesting humans, and pretty much everyone, save a few, are on board with being vampires. The fact that there is an underground movement to cure the vampirism could have been handled a lot more subversively – like they were some sort of terrorists.
Think about it – everyone is a vampire. We don’t see that many people care about it. Most seem to enjoy it. Then all of a sudden a small group is trying to change everyone? I think honestly that most of the vampires would just say “fuck that” and slaughter those who want to take away the immortality. Especially considering synthetic blood has been created by the end of the film. It’s like The Matrix. Why would you want to live in the shitty, dirty, disgusting real world when you could leave in the Matrix? Why be a aging, dying human when you could live forever?
The film doesn’t explore any of these ideas and rather takes the tried and tested route of the hero fighting against the big man to cure everyone. Meh. On the upside, there are the really cool, freaky mutated bat people. They’re awesome and scary. But we only have really see them do something scary once. Other than that, they’re just around. I thought they were wasted.
Continuing with the good – the style of the film. It’s flashy and well shot and looks good for the most part. It’s definitely cool to look at.
Most of the actors do just fine, though Dafoe is either just phoning it in or picked the wrong accent for this. He tries to sound a little bit too down home and for someone I usually enjoy watching, I wasn’t impressed with anything he was doing on screen.
The action is concentrated mostly into one scene in the middle, then a slow-motion, camera panning free-for-all at the end that is set up in some comedic endless loop. If a vampire feeds on someone who was cured, they become cured. Hungry vampires can’t control themselves so will attack anyone who is cured. So imagine the domino effect of one cured person being attacked and eaten by five vampires, who are then cured and in turn attacked by more vampires, who are ten cured and in turn attacked by more vampires. It’s pretty silly.
Sad to say there are several areas of just plain bad CGI. At one point a bat monster flips up and hangs on the ceiling and suddenly the people are fighting Roger Rabbit as the bat monster looks so far out of place. There are two or three areas like this which are distractingly bad, though to be fair, I watched a Blu-ray version which will highlight less than than stellar work.
In terms of extras, the Blu-ray disc is pretty loaded. There is commentary with the directors and creature designer, a feature length making-of documentary, a short film, a storyboard comparison, trailers, art, BD-live, and BD-touch. It also comes with a digital version of the film.
All in all, Daybreakers is a great idea turned into a pretty-okay movie. I’d say definitely worth a watch, but not really worth a purchase.